View Full Version : Soccer field help

02-07-2008, 01:18 AM
Im a high school soccer coach who is finally coming to grips that if I want to play on a half way decent field that I am going to have to maintain it myself to keep it in playing condition
I am in Southern California and our current problem that we have is that when it does rain we have puddles down the middle of the field. I think that we first need to fill in the low lying areas, but Im not sure how or what to use to level the field out. Need lots of help
taking all recommendations

02-07-2008, 06:48 AM
Hello Coach.

I need to know some information. What type of turf do you have? What type of soil do you have? When is your playing season? What type of budget do you have to work with? What type of equipment do you have access to?

Once we get some of that information we can work on a game plan.

I dealt with the exact same situation this past summer.

02-07-2008, 02:25 PM
1. Are the puddles occuring where the field recieves most of its abuse
2. do you already have an irrigation system in place
3. What is the soil make up.consist of right now
5. What type of turf grass do you have on the playing field

Here is what I will start with. pretty much all fields need to be designed to shed water. Typicaly on a foot ball or soccer field this will consist of a crwned playing surface where the middle is higher than the sides. Over time and without proper upkeep the crown or higher area will compct down typicaly because this is where the majoirty of the plyaing or use of the field is. If this is the cas a quick fix to the problem would be to fill the lower areas and bring them back to the right level so that the field will drain properly again. However if the field is not set up properly and many are not you will always have low spots that will create havoc.

One of our biggest problems with the fields wher I was was compaction. due to the sheer amount of usage the fields would recieve from both the school phys ed programs and the community. Make sure this is not part of the problem as well.

I am amazed that the school does not have someone else taking care of the field like their maintance or grounds departments.

02-07-2008, 06:22 PM
Hey coach
S.Cal eh? I was up in Sacratamatoe for many years and I feel your pain. Most likely the budget is tight as you fend for yourself among all the other programs! In your post you don't say anything about parent support, booster clubs, or public interest. First and foremost you most come up with a viable and cost affective plan that you can present to someone to obtain the goals your looking for(no pun intended). Get help in this area.

The previous two posts have the technical end down pat. One thing in mind, make sure you can understand some of the jargon coming at you. Typically a crown for a soccer field, depending on soil types should be somewhere in the range 1.5% to 3.5% slope. Soil types are what we call in the field as "profiles" and they consists of varying degrees of sand, clay( calsified)and silt (loam) to accomodate specific turf types and events. In S.Cal, turf types will run the gamut but you want to look at other fields that have Sport Fescue> I used this back in a few years ago in the Sacramento valley with great success. If time is short, peruse the following trade mags for lots of great info. Sports Field Management, Sportsturf, and Landscape Superintendent.
Good luck and lets us know how ya' made out!

02-08-2008, 01:06 AM
a couple things about our field.

1. There is high use for football and soccer and pe classes. the only time that it gets any rest is during the track season, the spring when only students only walk on the field.
2. there is a groundkeeper at school but he has not been very helpful. wthere is no time to reseed as we have playoffs soon and i also believe that we need to level or crown the field off.
3. there is irrigation but there are a couple of sprinler heads that need to be replaced and there are a couple of spots on the field that get over watered when they run (the grounds keeper sets up the timers)
4. not sure what kind of turf we have but i have laid a winter rye(?) in previous years but have not been able to stay off of it long enough to get any good growth.
5. i really need a quick fix for playoffs. there is not time to seed. i was really just thinking for now to fill in the pot hole like areas that are really uneven down the middle
6. the tools that i know i have are a couple of wheel barrows (sp?) a bunch of rakes, shovels, hoes,(nothing mechanized that i know of) and 20 or so athletes with time to spare.

also not sure of soil type. but i am thinking that i first need to fill in low lying areas, just not sure what to use.

was planning to buy or find some type of soil and manually dump it with my athletes to and eyeball it out til its even.

ill find out from out groundkeeper what other tools i might have access too.

thanks for the responses

02-08-2008, 12:36 PM
Ok for a real quick fix find a rock and soil distributor and se if you can get a load of sand clay mix. 75 percent sand 25 percent clay and have it delivered. again this is just for a quick fix. Use your guys to fill in and level the low areas. when you go to put the fill dirt in the lower areas mix in a stater fert into the clay sand mix. rhye grass will typically come in really quick especially if you can keep people off the area for a week. It would also be a good idea to lightly aerate the complet field if you have access to a large aerator. just watch those sprinkler heads.

As for giving time to the field to grow get the athletic director, principal and superintendent together. show what needs to be done and explain you need full cooperation so the field will be ready for the playoffs. at the same time see if you can get the money to have a prinkler teck to come out and check and reset your system just for the field. Do some talking you might find a company who wil donate services for a playoff situation. Remember you need to have people off the field for a week.

I know you are working with a limited budget if you are working with a school so see if you can get some sponor ship or donations. Business will do this especially if you make sure to mention them. In case you may wonder. typically the grounds guy's are encouraged to take a larger role in keeping up playing fields. However many schools just hire anyone for as little as they can so alot of times you get guys who could care less about what they do.

02-08-2008, 09:29 PM
Where in Southern California are you located?

02-09-2008, 09:14 AM
The way I see it, it looks as if you want a quick fix for zero money. Unfortunately, band-aids on this type of chronic problem only exasperates the situation and may cause even more headaches down the road. Sometimes you just have to stand back after making your recommendations and let it fall where it may. What, do you want to be a hero, saving the day so that the powers to be hoist you on their shoulders only to trash you next budget talks?
You've gotten some great advise from many here on this site. Use it or loose it. Sorry to sound rough, just my opinion.

The Yard Barber, Inc.
02-09-2008, 08:37 PM
from the sounds of things, you need a practice field to do more on. that way you can get less action on the game field. If you put soil down and you don't have enough time for the seed to come up and it just so happens to rain and have 20 people running around it's not going to be pretty. what I am saying is that you need to wait untill the season is over to do anything

02-10-2008, 08:16 PM
yes im looking kind of a quick fix miracle but i am also looking to learn about field maintanence so we dont have this problem again. when the season is over we will reseed and have some time to get some growth.

im in south la.

thank you all for your help. im going to try to get a sand clay mix to fill in the low areas then reseed in the next couple of weeks when our season is over. ill have to find out about an aireator

02-11-2008, 11:31 AM
Simple, aerify the crap out of the field, heavily topdress with straight sand and repeat whenever possible.
After the topdressing drag a piece of chain link fence with weight uniformly spread across the leading edge.
Will destroy the cores and distribute the topdressing quite well.
Done it for years.
After about three cycles the turf should respond better each time.
Also, after the aerification and before the topdressing remember to fertilize as well.
I used this process on a minimal budget athletic complex at a local municipality with great results.
The city, in their infinite wisdom, thought they could do it less cheaply and in less than one year royally screwed these fields up.
Now they want me back - but this time they have to pay$$

02-13-2008, 11:03 PM
Try avoiding the ryegrass for this situation. Rye does not handle abuse well especially from football cleats. A 3 way mix or straight KY Blue mix would likely fit this bill much better.

02-16-2008, 09:42 AM
Try avoiding the ryegrass for this situation. Rye does not handle abuse well especially from football cleats. A 3 way mix or straight KY Blue mix would likely fit this bill much better.

Pay attention to where he is reporting from - southern California.
Also annual ryegrass is the least costly type of C3 seed for over seeding C4 host turf. The 3-way mixes are much more expensive in addition to their marked propensity towards dollar spot and patch diseases when dying off in warmer temps. The endophytes in the annual ryegrass greatly simplify transition.

06-27-2008, 08:17 AM
Aerate, Aerate, Aerate.

If you have very little money all you need to do to see improvement is aerate and put out milorganite. I guarantee you will see improvement. If you can topdress, then do it. DO NOT PUT MATERIAL WITH CLAY IN IT ON YOUR FIELD. If you think it doesnt drain now, put some clay on it, you will see puddles.

07-01-2008, 10:46 PM
Honestly if you cant get football off the field your pretty much killing yourself .

let me guess all the worst areas are between the hash marks ?

I just spent last weekend with 5 guys doing divot repair on our Main Field which ony see Soccer and nothing else 20 yds of topsoil 200 lbs of seed and 8 hours (and a few beers for good measure ) we removed all equipment from the field and locked the gate . We would have done this earlier but we just finished up for the spring , Hosting the USASA Region 1 Finals . You might be better off seeing if there is a possibility of creating another field for the soccer program.... just by the nature of football the field is going to get torn up by mid season .... and playing soccer on a big bumpy field is horrible . to play and to watch . I feel your pain I also Coach and Still Play .

silly question why are you guys using rye grass in southern california ? I thought rye was a "Northern " turf . we are in PA just north of Philly We hit our fields with rye in the spring and 50 rye 50 blue mix in the fall . and when ever we can and there is money available we broadcast seed the hardest hit areas ....

As for the sprinkler problems .... Sprinkler repairs are not hard .... Ask your maintenance guy if he can walk you through repairs ..... he might be glad to have someone help him out ....

ALSO ..... ARERATE AERATE AERATE especially the middle of the field !

just my thoughts I feel your pain !

07-13-2008, 09:23 PM
Hey Coach, I would like to invite you to take a look at our field. And share some ideas. I am also in so cal and i had the same problem. Please respond to my message I would like to help you.